McAlister denies Hook dream debut
November 4, 2011
Toulouse's Yannick Jauzion is smashed by two Perpignan defenders © Getty Images
Former All Blacks playmaker Luke McAlister denied James Hook a perfect debut for Perpignan as Toulouse withstood a spirited effort to beat their opponents 21-17 at the Stade Ernest Wallon.
The Wales international put in a strong showing in his first appearance for Perpignan as he set up one try, kicked two conversions and landed a mammoth drop goal. However McAlister, who was equally impressive with ball in hand, kicked six penalties while replacement Lionel Beauxis was also on target for Toulouse.
Hook took jsut three minutes to make an impact as he judged a cross-field kick to perfection, allowing right winger Farid Sid to accelerate on to the ball and carry it over in the corner. The Wales international landed the conversion.
Toulouse hit back with three successive penalties from McAlister to edge ahead of their opponents. Hook then thumped over a long-range drop goal in the 27th minute but McAlister had the final word of the half with a penalty to regain the lead for Toulouse.
The opposing fly-halves both missed penalties in the stages of the second half before Perpignan No.8 Damien Chouly crashed over with Hook converting. McAlister immediately hit back with a penalty to reduce the visitor's lead to two points heading into the final quarter. And Toulouse went ahead with another McAlister penalty 11 minutes from time before replacement Beauxis sealed the win.
Bordeaux Begles surprised high-flying Castres with a 24-9 victory at Stade Chaban-Delmas. Fly-half Gerard Fraser contributed 13 points as the hosts recorded their fourth win of the season while Castres lost the chance to keep the pressure on the front runners.
Bordeaux took full advantage of Rodrigo Capo Ortega's yellow card in the 22nd minute as Fraser crossed for the opening try in the 26th minute. The conversion was missed but Bruce Reihana landed a penalty four minutes later. The New Zealander's opposite number Romain Teulet responded with three points of his own to keep Castres within 5 at the half way point.
However Bordeaux accelerated away from their opponents in the second half. Fraser landed a penalty before converting replacement Hikairo Forbes' try. Reihana was accurate with another penalty before Fraser smashed over a drop goal while Castres could only muster a drop goal from Pierre Bernard and a penalty from Teulet.
Second-place Clermont Auvergne slumped to a 37-16 defeat to Stade Francais in Paris. Stade fly-half Felipe Contepomi bagged 17 points with a try, two penalties and three conversions while Jerome Fillol, Pascal Pape, Paul Williams and Francis Fainifo all crossed for the hosts. David Skrela landed three penalties and converted Jean-Marcel Buttin's try for Clermont.
The result allowed Toulouse to retake top-spot while Stade moved upto seventh place with their fourth victory of the season.
Racing Metro climbed to fifth in the Top 14, for the time being at least, with a hard-fought 18-12 victory over Brive after a try-less encounter at the Stade Amedee-Domenech on Friday night.
A tepid first half ended with the two sides locked together at three points apiece, with fullback Gaetan Germain levelling matters right with a penalty right on the stroke of half-time after scrum-half Mathieu Belie had opened the scoring for Brive on 33 minutes.
Germain struck again shortly after the restart before No.9 Mathieu Loree slotted a drop goal to extend the visitors' lead to six points. Belie responded for Brive but Germain responded in kind soon after before slotting his fourth penalty of the evening on 70 minutes, after replacement Poutasi Luafutu had seen yellow for the home side.
Fullback Julien Caminati, taking over the kicking duties from Belie, kept Brive in touch but Racing replacement Jonathan Wisniewski landed a penalty shortly after being sprung from the bench to ensure victory for the men from Colombes. However, there was still time for Caminati to secure a losing bonus point for Brive with the last kick of the game.
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